Sunrisers bag IPL title Indian Premier League

Calm mentor, calmer team — the winning formula

The think-tank of Tom Moody, Muttiah Muralitharan annd V.V.S. Laxman ensured that Sunrisers contested ever match positively and with assurance. Photo: PTI  

It was a triumph for the gentlemen.

Cricket may have lost its pleasant side but V.V.S. Laxman, Tom Moody and Muttiah Muralitharan ensured the gentleman team of the Indian Premier League (IPL) did not disappoint its followers.

Did Laxman’s calmness rub off on the players who gave a distinguished account of their cricket acumen on the field and off it too?

“It was not at all about me. It was about the team. I am glad if you say it was the most-liked team because we don’t have superstars, we don’t have players who throw their weight around. We are happy to be known as a low-profile side,” said Laxman on way to Kolkata where he conducts a week-long camp at the request of former India captain Sourav Ganguly.

Sunrisers played the game in the right spirit even under pressure and when situations did not work in its favour. “You look at our performers — Ashish Nehra, David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman, Ben Cutting. They are expressive. They play their natural game and it does not require them to be demonstrative. We may lack flamboyance but we have substance. It is nice to be known as a calm team.”

Laxman, as mentor of the team, had a specific role to play. From planning the auction strategy, selection of playing XI to making sure the team keeps improving, he had to ensure the technical assistance to the players was well received.

“I discussed the technical issue but never imposed myself. I gave them options to adapt. Tom was given inputs by us and was overall in-charge of the campaign. Murali brought abundance of experience and helped bowlers and batsmen. We worked as a team with the right intentions.” Having seen players suffer under pressure, Laxman ensured this factor did not impact SRH.

“We made sure the players’ approach did not fluctuate and they did not feel insecure. We had to promise a positive mindset in the ranks. Lot of players did not get to play but those who did were given a proper deal. There was no scope for despondency in the SRH dressing room.”

Attack with bite

The emphasis on a “formidable” bowling unit paid off for SRH. “Bowlers win matches and we were clear in this aspect. We banked on pace and on wicket-taking bowlers. Rahman was top class, in the PowerPlay and at the death; Nehra was exceptional; Bhuvi has a clear mind, varying his stuff and creating pressure. It was a fantastic bowling unit.”

It was a departure from the previous IPLs when SRH would go to pieces in the last four overs and falter after a brilliant start. The presence of Yuvraj Singh in the middle added to the depth.

In Laxman’s opinion, Cutting made a huge impact. “He did not get to play much but he was the most devoted. The way he worked on his game on the low and slow pitches of India was remarkable. He was first in the nets and the last to come out. I am sure we will hear more of him.”

Laxman, a picture of composure during his playing days, has found a voice in the way SRH conducts itself in times when gamesmanship is an acceptable, even if irritating, past of the game. SRH is an exception to it.

Not known to dance, Laxman indulged in it during the celebrations by the team. Needless to say, his footwork was faulty. He has promised to improve.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 1:06:07 AM |

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